The term for the literary period comes from English history, and requires a little background. After a decade of civil wars, rebels executed King Charles I in 1649. For the next ten years or so, known as the Interregnum or Protectorate, England was ruled not by a king but by Oliver Cromwell, "the Protector" (and then his son). In 1660, however, the executed king's son, Charles II, was brought back to England and "restored" to the throne.

The era following Charles II's restoration to the throne is known, therefore, as the Restoration. The term sometimes extends until 1688 or 1689 (when Charles II's brother, James II, was expelled from England in the Glorious Revolution), and sometimes through 1700, when the eighteenth century begins.

The most important Restoration authors in most accounts are John Bunyan, Aphra Behn, William Congreve, and John Dryden. Although John Milton's Paradise Lost appeared in 1667, it is usually studied along with works of the Renaissance.

From the Guide to Literary Terms by Jack Lynch.
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Note: This guide is still in the early stages of development.
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